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COMMUNITY LIFESTYLE INSTITUTE

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Social Justice Blog

Social Justice Blog

Hire experienced firefighters

Posted on September 30, 2020 at 12:40 AM

Formerly incarcerated firefighters deserve to be hired


How much more Catch-22 can you get than to train a prisoner to fight forest fires, to get pay of $1.90 a day, then when he gets out to say, “Sorry you were a criminal so you can not get an EMT certificate. You don’t deserve that.”


Governor Gavin Newsom of California recently signed bill AB 2147 which is a step forward in reducing recidivism and making for a safer California by removing roadblocks for the formerly incarcerated to attain EMT certificate. Fire fighters on the many California fires are incarcerated persons actively working to save lives.  The bill would allow them to pretition the courts to clear their records thereby making them eligible to get an EMT certification.


Incredibly, “Law enforcement groups and prosecutors opposed the bill saying the former inmates pose a danger to the public.”  The only prisoners allowed on the prison forest fighting crews are the ones who were not guilty of violent felonies, such as murder, kidnapping and sex offenses. Prisoners with these types of offenses are ineligible to fight fires.


Without an EMT certification the now free prisoners have limited job opportunities as firefighters. Typically, California employees 200 prisoner fire crews but this year because of early release of nonviolent offenders due to covid-19 only 113 crews were available to be used.


AB 2147 discontinued the punishment previous employed by the California Justice System and put rehabilitation options back into the "correctional" system.  Formerly incarcerated persons can petition the courts to expunge their records thus clearing the way for them to hold EMT certification. The forest fighting prisoners wins and so thereby does society as a whole in numerous ways.

 


Reference:

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/912193742/california-bill-clears-path-for-ex-inmates-to-become-firefighters


Guy R. Grant

Categories: Reducing Recidivism